Headdress (ci wara)

African, Bamana peoples, Mali
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: Mali

Dimensions

Overall: 39.8 x 21.5 x 52 cm (15 11/16 x 8 7/16 x 20 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

2009.2675

Medium or Technique

Wood, basketry, beads, string

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Sculpture

Most collections formed after World War II contain antelope headdresses-iconic works of African art. They were part of a mask belonging to the members of the ci wara association, which initiates young men into adult tasks, among them the cultivation of the fields. This headdress, inserted into a basketry cap, depicts a female antelope, anteater, or pangolin (a type of anteater). According to Bamana thought, both animals and the snake taught men the art of farming, for they knew the secrets of the earth.

Provenance

1960s, acquired in Bamako, Mali, by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart